The Metal Files

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Archive for the ‘doom’ Category

Saint Vitus & The Skull Concert Review, Austin, TX, September 27, 2016

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Saint Vitus, The Skull and Witch Mountain kicked off their latest tour here in Austin, TX Tuesday night to a moderately sized crowd at one of Austin newest venues, Grizzly Hall.  This place has a great setup and sound system.

Newish Austin locals, LadyKiller opened the show with their brand of what I have seen called “Camaro Rock” to a slowly building crowd.  They seemed to start off a little flat but by the middle of their 30 minute set, they were doing their thing smoothly.

Witch Mountain was up next but I missed their entire set hanging outside on the patio with some friends.  I could hear them but wasn’t interested enough to go in.  I had checked them out before and well, pass.

The Skull was up next.  I’m a huge Trouble fan of everything they released up to and including their 1990 S/T classic.  I’ve seen them 4 times now, including Tuesday’s show and really like the stuff they’re doing now.  They’ve gone through some lineup changes since I first saw them in 2014 in Chicago but Eric Wagner, Ron Holzner and Lothar Keller have remained constant.  Lefty Rob Wrong (Witch Mountain) is handling additional guitar duties now and for this tour in Sean Saley’s absence, they have former Poison Idea drummer Steve “Thee Hippy Slayer” Hanford.  They opened the set with Trapped Inside My Mind from their 2014 release entitled For Those Which Are Asleep.  Three of the next 4 songs were also from that album.  They played “The Longing” from their latest EP as well before going into 4 classic Trouble songs including Pray for the Dead from Trouble’s 1985 album The Skull.  The band sounded fantastic and Wagner’s voice was still as shrill as ever.

Saint Vitus were up next and I’m not much of a fan although I’ve seen them several times.  Their drummer, Henry, is a good pal so I go to support.  He took me to the green room prior to The Skull to get Dave, Mark and Scott to sign The Book.  All were really cool guys and Scott was up front with us watching The Skull.  I watched their first 3 or 4 songs and have to admit that I enjoyed them more than ever.  Having Scott on vocals helps quite a bit as I’m no fan of Wino aside from his Hidden Hand stuff.

After the show I was beat.  It was getting pretty late for a work night so I headed home.  The tour bus that they were going to use was stuck in Dallas broke down so instead of them driving back to Dallas after the show, I had offered my place up to The Skull.  They had to drive back to Dallas the next day for a show, but were happy to be able to sleep before making that drive.  It was a bit surreal knowing that Eric and Ron, dudes from a band I’ve loved for 30 years, were just hanging out in my house with my cat, Taco, while I was crashed out.  haha.  Good dudes.  I did come home for lunch and Ron had just woken up.  “Your cat is awesome.”  True.

Through my pal, Felix Griffin (DRI, BAT), I was introduced to former DRI bassist, Josh Pappe.  I got him added to The Book as well.

The Obsessed & Karma To Burn Concert Review, Austin, TX, June 7, 2016

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In general I’m not a big stoner rock/stoner doom fan.  I don’t think it’s because I’m not a stoner as I have a lot of friends who love that music but don’t get high.  Too much droning and not enough melody for me.

I was on the fence about going last night as I was still tired after the Whitesnake show the night before.  The Obsessed’s mgmt offered me a guest list slot so I sucked it up and went downtown.

As I arrived to the venue, Wino and co. were hanging out and I got a chance to speak with him one on one for a few minutes.  I showed him The Book and he was surprised by the entry in it.  “Where can I get a copy?”  I had met him several times before and didn’t realize until yesterday that they were in the book.  I should have known that at least based on their inclusion on Metal Massacre VI.  Duh.  I had him sign his entry and the CD cover.  In a rush to leave the house, I had forgotten the first Hidden Hand CD (my favorite Wino project ever) and the last St. Vitus album he was on.

My friends in Crimson Devils opened the show with a solid 30 minute set.  Jake and Curtis are fantastic musicians, good dudes and always a pleasure to watch.

There were 2 bands coming up next and I left to go get dinner.  By the time I got back, West Virginia’s Karma to Burn was getting ready to start.  My memory is a bit hazy but I think I saw them in Virginia in the late 90s, but can’t confirm that.  Almost all the way to the end of their first song, the growing crowd was standing at least 5 feet from the stage.  I walked right up front to help entice the rest of the crowd to move up and it worked.  Their set was solid, heavy and instrumental.  Highlight for me was their unrelenting drummer.  Although much of their stuff started sounding the same to me after a few songs, that drummer was damn near flawless.

Up next was The Obsessed.  Admittedly I’m not familiar with their stuff at all.  From what my friend told me, the first 3 songs were all Obsessed songs, then they played a Spirit Caravan song.  I’ve seen them before but again, I’m not familiar with the material.  After a couple more songs, I went home.  I was dog tired.  The band was solid and Wino’s guitar playing was good.  He looked confident playing it.  I will say this, though, and a few others noticed the same thing, Wino looked tentative when he was singing.  They’re midway through their tour right now so I don’t know if it’s just my perception or if he’s having some nervousness.  The guy is a seasoned veteran so I’m thinking it’s just my perception.

By the time I left, it looked like there were about 70 or so people there, which isn’t bad for a Tuesday night downtown.

Pentagram & Heavy Metal Parking Lot 3 Concert Review, Austin, TX, March 19, 2016

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foto by Jerry Milton

Day 2 of my weekend with Pentagram took place at The Lost Well in East Austin.  This show was held during SxSW and was part of a separate 2-day affair called Heavy Metal Parking Lot.  This is the third installment put on by Johnny Galyon and American Icon Records.  The day’s featured artists were as follows:
PENTAGRAM 1130
Mondo Drag 1030
Venomous Maximus 930
Sweat Lodge 830
The Blood Royale 745
Tower 7
Sabbath Crow 615
Against the Grain 530
Destroyer of Light 445
Banquet 4
Wrong 315
Greenbeard 230

After driving back from Houston in the morning and sleeping half of the day, I got there a little after 5 missing my friends in Destroyer of Light but got to catch Against the Grain whom I missed the night before.  They were killer!  Bass player was a total monster.  It was a good set overall and I look forward to catching them again.  Good friends Sabbath Crow were up next and I caught part of their set before grabbing dinner with Greg from Pentagram and Jeff Lee, who is basically a Pentagram historian and lives in the area.  He’s been involved with the band since 1979 and it’s always great to hear his stories.  Tower from New York were up next and I enjoyed their set quite a bit.   The Blood Royale came next and it was their end of tour show and they blazed through it like madmen. Sweat Lodge was up next and they fall into that category of 70s retro that I just can’t get in to.  Their singer’s got a great voice but I just can’t latch on to them at all.  Good friends Venomous Maximus were up next and as always got a great response for a great set.  Love those dudes.  Mondo Drag’s set was comparable to the night before in Houston, which is to say they were great.  They got a really good response from the crowd, too.

Pentagram came on next to an over capacity crowd that was jam packed into The Lost Well like sardines in mustard sauce.  It was pretty intense.  I’ve never seen it so packed in there.  I stood in the very back of the venue and really could only see the tops of Victor’s and Greg’s heads.  They played the same setlist with the only difference being the encore was played after the last of the main list songs since the band couldn’t leave the stage at all to take a quick break.  So they plowed through the encore with the extended massive jam at the end of 20 Buck Spin.  It was crazy in there.  And it was great.  I’m glad everyone got in and that no one got hurt in that packed crowd.  Bobby’s voice started a little rough at the beginning of the set, but improved greatly by the time they played Forever My Queen.  Once they finished, they quickly exited the stage and went straight to the bus.  I got caught up in a few conversations and didn’t get to see them off as they had to get to DFW to catch some flights home.  They were backlined so didn’t have any real gear to break down and load up besides the merch.  Speaking of which, I didn’t get one of their shirts as they had run out of my size prior to the Houston show.  And again, pick up Curious Volume.  It’s a great album.

I couldn’t have asked for a much better weekend with a great bunch of guys in Pentagram and the folks at The Lost Well, including all of the friends and staff there.  It was a night for the record books for sure.

 

 

 

Pentagram Concert Review, Houston, TX, March 18, 2016

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I like traveling out of Austin for shows and seeing Pentagram in another city was surely going to be fun.  I first met them in 2010 on the street in Austin and became pals with them over the years since.

I got to Houston around 4PM and a little before the band arrived to load in and sound check.  I noticed a line of people at the venue that seemed pretty young, too young to be Pentagram fans in general.  There was a show in the main room at Warehouse Live from some mall metal/mall core/emo core band called blessthefall.

When Pentagram arrived, I helped them load in during a heavy rain storm.  That was fun(?).  Also loading in were Detroit’s Against the Grain and Oakland’s Mondo Drag.  Once everything got set up, the band ran through sound check with a couple of Pentagram songs and KISS’ Cold Gin, all with Victor on vocals.  After the check, I ran Greg and Victor to Guitar Center to get a fog machine.  Let me tell you, the customer service there was total shit.  The guy working there just seemed annoyed that we had questions and that he needed to get the ladder to get what the band needed from the top shelf. Sorry that you had to provide customer service in your customer service job, dude.  We grabbed a quick dinner across the street and then headed back in the venue.

When we got back, they set the machine up in the dressing room to test it out.  Bobby had come in from the bus and was on the couch next to the machine and they blasted him with it twice.  His reaction was pretty funny.  I guess you had to be there.  The band also decided to prank blessthefall as their dressing room was connected by a sealed doorway that had enough of a crack in it to shoot fog into their dressing room.  During blessthefall’s last song, they got their room filled with fog.  Oddly enough, they got pissed off about it as did the promoter and security guy.  What a bunch of pussies.

I missed Against the Grain’s set while  we were buying the fog machine.  However, I did catch most of Mondo Drag’s set and completely loved it.  If I had to classify it, it’s Uriah Heep meets some Yes meets early 70s jazz/fusion.  In general I detest the 70s psychedelic revival as most of the bands sound the same to me, offering nothing different than any others.  But these guys had a little something different.  Maybe just the Heep styled heavy keyboards and cool jazz riffs here and there, but it set them apart from just about all of the other bands I’ve seen that fall in the sub genre.  The crowd seemed into it as well.

Pentagram hit the stage with about 150ish in the crowd.  It seemed pretty lightly attended overall.  I’ve not attended many Houston shows so can’t really gauge what it should have been.  They opened up with Death Row and All Your Sins and much of the crowd was singing along.  Bobby’s voice sounded great, probably better than any other time I’ve heard them.  The band was energetic and extremely tight.  New drummer, Peter Campbell, has the perfect combination of keeping perfect time and having feel in his playing.  They mixed the setlist up with a lot of classics and 5 from the latest album, Curious Volume.  The album is awesome and I highly recommend it.  It’s easily in my top 5 Pentagram albums.  The crowd went crazy during Forever My Queen. For me Broken Vows and When the Screams Come are two of the major highlights and come from my favorite album of theirs, Day of Reckoning.  They played 7 total from Pentagram (aka Relentless).  The encore also had Be Forewarned, which was the favorite song by my old pal, Sergio.  RIP.  It was a great show overall and the Pentagram band and crew are really all great guys.  Thanks for the hospitality as always!

After the show, I went back to the dressing room and hung out for a bit.  Bobby was worn out and about to fall asleep.  He asked me what I thought of the show and I mentioned that I’ve seen 3 classic singers recently who all blew me away.  Those being Liebling, Mogg and Meniketti.  He perked up when heard Mogg mentioned.  Apparently UFO is his favorite band.  Based on the conversation we had, his knowledge of the band has few rivals.  And I’ll say this, for a guy who’s done the drugs and lived like Bobby has, I’m always impressed that he can get on stage and not miss a lyric ever that I’ve seen.  No teleprompter, just incredible memory.  It’s quite impressive.  Greg mentioned that at rehearsals they’ll start playing a random old Pentagram song and Bobby will come right in and sing it perfectly.

After some quick goodbyes, I headed to my hotel.  I was wiped out.

 

 

 

 

Pentagram and Ancient VVisdom Concert Review, Austin, TX 8/2/2013

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Pentagram came to town yesterday to play Emo’s East.  No need to rehash my love for them, it’s all written here somewhere.

I’ll just say that the band was solid and Bobby sounded great.  New guitarist, Matt, did a great job.  No, he’s not Victor Griffin, but no one is.  This kid did a fine job.  New drummer, Sean, was rock solid as well.  And of course Greg Turley killed it on bass.  I got to spend some time with Greg for a few hours before show along with Jeff, the band’s biographer.  Jeff and Greg know more about Pentagram than Bobby.  Their history with the band is quite interesting.  It was a great time talking with them again.

The Saint James Society opened the show and quite frankly I couldn’t have been more bored.

My friends Ancient VVisdom were on next and played a fine set.  Their singer now plays acoustic guitar and it changes the vibe quite a bit.

Overall it was a great night.

Written by The Metal Files

August 3, 2013 at 11:20 am

Venomous Maximus – Beg Upon The Light (2012) Review

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I had seen Venomous Maximus at least 6 or 7 times before finally putting ears to any of their studio work.  They are always a treat live.  Super solid, energetic and G. Lee Higgins is the right person to front this band that calls Houston, TX its home.

A few weeks back at a show I bought their latest release, Beg Upon the Light.  It took me almost 2 weeks to finally get around to listening to it and now I feel like I have wasted 2 weeks!  I had to drive to Houston and back this week (2.5 hours each way) and listened to this 3 times on the drive.  Oh my!

This album is very well-produced.  I guess they are considered “stoner/doom” metal.  I hear so much more classic metal sounds that came from Metal Blade and other classic labels.  I hear elements of Tyrant, Damien Thorne, Mercyful Fate, Black Sabbath and Cirith Ungol.

Higgins’ voice may take some time for folks to get used to.  I, for one, think they’re perfect for the band.  There’s no death growl that is so rampant in the stoner/doom genre these days.  His voice is clean and clear and typically lower than most metal singers today.  Think King Diamond’s low vocals with Mercyful Fate with a little more “umph” behind them or maybe even those from early Moonspell (Wolfheart).  He has a really good sorrowful wail to his style.

The rest of band is spot on with their delivery.  I especially like Christian’s solos (I always want more solos!).  His solo intro on Path of Doom is such a beautiful nod to Mercyful Fate.  Bongo and Trevi round out the rhythm section perfectly.
Favorite tracks would be Path of Doom, Battle for the Cross, Hell’s Heroes and Moonchild.

I highly recommend this album and so far I’d call it my favorite album of 2012.  10/10.  Go see them live!

You can stream the whole album here.  Find them on Facebook, too.

Written by The Metal Files

November 8, 2012 at 8:51 am

Dove – S/T

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Dove is a band that you only hear whispers of and really only in certain circles.  I had the privilege of seeing them at a club I worked for around 2005.  Sadly there were only about 20 people there.  No matter, Dove was great.  The lineage of this band is pretty heavy and goes something like this:

Cavity–>Dove–>Floor–>Torche

Ah, you know Floor and Torche?  Yes, same ones.  I saw Floor a few months ago during FunFunFunFest in Austin and they are playing here again Saturday…of course I am seeing them again.  Mammoth Grinder is opening and they are quality as well.

But back to Dove.  This album crushes.  It’s near the best 30 or so minutes you can spend listening to music.  Heavy, down-tuned, melodic, no song clocks in over 3:55.  The CD has long been out of print and apparently a vinyl reissue came out a year or so ago.

1. Thank You For Your Patience 01:52
2. Goes Without Saying 02:05
3. On a Mission 04:13
4. Red King 01:45
5. Neither Today, Nor Tomorrow 01:55
6. Twenty Three Twelve 01:56
7. Somewhere Between 02:33
8. This You Can Trust 02:11
9. Without Warning 01:54
10. You and I 01:42
11. Start Running Now 02:43
12. Never a Straight Line 02:52
13. Sight and Seen 02:40
14. See You Soon, Love Always… 03:55

Download here…and enjoy!

Here’s a vid of Floor I shot last fall.

Written by The Metal Files

April 27, 2011 at 7:26 am